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Talk Data to Me: Our Map Legend, Alexey Tarutin, Answers Your Top 10 GIS Questions.

Does Continuum Industries supply GIS data?

We do, indeed! And to ensure you have access to a wide range of data, we actively establish partnerships with major data providers in the countries where we operate and beyond.

Currently, we supply data from over 50 providers and we are continuously expanding our network. For example, in the UK, we collaborate with renowned organisations like Ordnance Survey, Oceanwise, Environment Agency, Historic England, Natural England, NatureScot, and Historic Environment Scotland. We also collate local council or regional data when available, including information from electricity, gas and water utilities.

We maintain a repository of spatial data copies from these providers, ensuring you have consistent and reliable access to this valuable information.

What data can Optioneer™ take?

In short - anything that can be shown on a map (or you can see on an existing map) can be used by Optioneer.

In terms of details… this is the part where we get a little bit nerdy. Optioneer relies on data to put out accurate and detailed information. This includes data like bathymetry and elevation, which is stored in GeoTIFF format. Additionally, we also use various vector formats such as Shapefile, GeoPackage, GeoJSON, and KML for other constraints.

We also understand that users may have their own data preferences and requirements. That's why we provide the flexibility for users to upload and integrate their own data into our platform. This empowers you to work with the specific GIS data that is most relevant to your projects.

What initial information do we need to have or import into Optioneer to get the job done?

Getting started with a project in Optioneer is easy, I promise! Here's all we need from you to kick things off:

  • Your area of interest: Let us know the specific location where you're planning your project.
  • Project type: Tell us whether you're working on a transmission line, a hydrogen/CO2 pipeline, a water pipeline, or an export cable.
  • Onshore or offshore: let us know if your project is onshore or offshore.

No data to get you started? No problem, we’ve got you covered as we can look for the data sources you need ourselves and import them into the platform.

Can we upload our own layers and add in survey activity?

Absolutely! You'll have the freedom to upload your own data in the formats we mentioned earlier. It's all about making things easy and flexible for you.

Plus, if you ever need some guidance on how to structure your vector data correctly, we've got your back! Just hop into Optioneer and check out our
vector data guide for all the helpful tips and tricks. We want to ensure that your data fits right in and works seamlessly within Optioneer.

Does the software work for dense cities/urban areas?

In general, as long as there's enough data available, Optioneer has got the magic to make it happen.

Urban areas are more tricky, though - there is a lot of densely packed utilities in roads and making decisions about what to do is based more on professional judgement than a set of well-established, data-driven rules.

How much data is available in new markets?

When it comes to exploring new geographies, we have nifty tools that help us generate baseline results quickly and efficiently.

For instance, we interface with OpenStreetMap, a fantastic resource for mapping. To extract specific features, we use a system called Overpass. It enables us to create queries and helps us find all sorts of interesting things like buildings, infrastructure, and natural environment. Since OpenStreetMap’s data is extremely vast, we fetch the data on a per-project basis to keep things organised.

We also rely on aggregates of sources like MARCO in the US for example. These aggregates link us to data from reliable sources like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), North East Ocean Data (NEOD), and US Federal sources in this case. We connect directly to their data hosted on ArcGIS REST APIs and create a handy catalogue of their datasets. This way, we can select the datasets we need for a project and download them in their entirety. We even preserve copies of this data for future use, just in case any accessibility issues pop up.

We love to review publicly available datasets through geoportals and use our scraping system to gather that data. It's like our own treasure hunt! You’ll be happy to know that in most of our customers' target geographies, we've found high-quality data. Places like France, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Sweden, Estonia, Slovenia, and many others offer complete data offerings. And the US Federal datasets are pretty good too!

Some countries like Greece and Italy might have slightly less data available, but don’t worry. We’ve got some tricks up our sleeves. We can supplement it with OpenStreetMap and the other sources we have built up over time. It’s all about filling the gaps and ensuring you have the best data possible.

One more thing to note: once we create a data registry for a known geography, we can reuse that same registry for multiple projects. Efficiency at its finest!

How much work needs to be done to incorporate new data?

It usually takes a couple of days to incorporate new data.

The complexity of the source determines how long it will take. Let’s imagine we are looking to bring a new geography into the mix. It could be a quick sprint, taking just a day to conquer the new geography. Or it might turn into a mini-expedition, stretching out to about a week. But hey, it's all part of the fun!

We first need to find out where the data is hiding and how we can connect with it. Is it a Web Feature Service (WFS), a custom API, or just a feed?

Once we crack the code and locate the source, we gather all the available information and create a customised catalogue, specially tailored for Optioneer. It's like building a menu of data options.

Does Optioneer take into account metocean conditions?

When we have access to the necessary data, Optioneer can take advantage of metocean conditions to enhance its capabilities. In order to make the most of metocean conditions, we need a way to give them a tangible impact. We're talking about assigning a penalty or cost to the data. It's all about making sure you're taking everything into account and making informed decisions.

When a project is finished how can we get the data?

Once the line data is generated, you'll be able to view it right within Optioneer. Alongside this data, we'll provide you with a treasure trove of useful metrics that will make your planning process a breeze.

You’ll be able to explore corridors where the largest density of routes were created, you'll get cost, environmental and engineering profiles for each route to help you make informed decisions and keep your budget and project’s goals in check.

Can we export files to other GIS applications?

While we highly recommend interacting with the data right within Optioneer for a seamless experience, we understand that sometimes you might want to take your data on a little adventure outside of our platform.

You always have the option to export the generated datasets from Optioneer. You can export them in popular formats like Shapefile and GeoJSON and use them in a CAD or GIS software of your choice.

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